Cardboard boxes consist of air pockets, allowing airflow, making them ideal for storing fruits, vegetables, and root crops. But can you store potatoes in them? Here's what experts say.
Storing potatoes in a cardboard box is recommended as it allows them to breathe, extending their shelf life.
So how to store potatoes in a cardboard box? Is there a special procedure to follow? And, how long can you store potatoes in it? More about that below!
Why Should You Store Potatoes Correctly?
After the potatoes get cut off from the roots upon harvest, we assume that they stop breathing. The fact is, they never cease to do so.
The oxygen combines with their sugar content, releasing carbon dioxide. This accelerates their decay. Storing potatoes properly prevents the production of CO2 and also retains their vitamin C content.
Other Causes Of Potatoes Spoilage
- Microorganisms: Injured potatoes become prone to yeast and mold. These contaminate other potatoes as they are stored together.
- Moisture: Potatoes are 80% water, so they need humidity to stay hydrated, but excess moisture fosters the growth of bacteria, causing potatoes to rot.
- Light: This turns potatoes green due to chlorophyll and also increases the production of solanine, a chemical toxic to humans.
What's The Best Way To Store Potatoes?
One key to storing potatoes is to place them in a cardboard box. As mentioned, it provides enough ventilation for them to stay cool and dry.
How To Store Potatoes In A Cardboard Box
See and follow the procedure for storing potatoes for the best results:
- Check potatoes for injury, mold, and sprouts—only perfect potatoes are suited for long-term storage.
- Place them in the cardboard box without any plastic bag or covering that can block air.
- Store the potatoes in a cool, dark place with 45 to 50 °F temperatures (i.e. basement or insulated garage.)
- Check potatoes from time to time for sprouts, yeast, and mold, and remove the infected ones.
Raw potatoes can last up to 6 months if stored correctly, but they are best consumed within one to two weeks.
Other Containers You Can Store Potatoes In
Mesh bags are best for thick-skinned produce that needs enough airflow such as potatoes, carrots, and onions. Just hang it on the kitchen or basement wall to stay dry.
Paper bags absorb humidity, keeping fruits and vegetables dry. They are a great choice for root crops that continue to respire.
Wooden crates also keep the potatoes well ventilated and prevent them from getting crushed.
How To Know If Potatoes Have Gone Bad
Potatoes that have gone bad would become soft or mushy to the touch. There will also be black spots or signs of internal bruises. Green tinge on potatoes also indicates that potatoes are unsafe to eat.
What Happens If You Eat Bad Potatoes?
Large consumption of bad potatoes might lead to solanine poisoning which can cause a headache, dizziness, and vomiting. It lasts for 8 to 10 hours. If symptoms persist, call a physician.
How To Prevent Potatoes From Sprouting
Mixing a couple of apples with the potatoes prevents them from sprouting. The former gives off ethylene gas which forestalls internal germination. More importantly, keep them dry as humidity provides a perfect environment for sprouting.
Are Sprouted Potatoes Safe To Eat?
No, sprouted potatoes are no longer edible. Not only will they be bitter to eat but they can also make you sick as they contain high amounts of glycoalkaloids—another poisonous compound.
Should You Wash Potatoes Before Storing Them?
Potatoes are soil-grown, it’s tempting to wash the dirt and soil off them before storing, but remember that dampness can harbor bacteria and speed up decay. It’s best to just brush off sand and dirt off the produce.
Can You Store Potatoes In A Fridge?
Refrigerating raw potatoes leads to a higher level of sugar content and acrylamide, increasing the risk of cancer once potatoes are cooked—it’s not recommended.
Can You Store Potatoes With Onions?
Placing onions near potatoes must be avoided, let alone storing them together. Onions accelerate the ripening process, hence, spoilage. Store them apart in different containers.
Additional Potato Storage Tips
When it comes to storing potatoes, there’s a lot more to know! Here are some more tips:
- Allow the potatoes to cure for up to 10 days to heal cuts before storing them.
- As we have discussed, never wash potatoes until you are ready to cook them.
- Keep potatoes away from light and other produce that release gasses.
- Don’t place raw potatoes in a tightly sealed plastic bag.
What To Do With Too Many Potatoes
Got too many potatoes and you have no idea what to do with them? You can cook and freeze them. Yes! You read it right! The method depends on what you want to make with them later, but we’ll suggest different ways to do it:
Blanching & Freezing
This deactivates enzymes responsible for spoiling. Just bring the water to a boil, then blanch the potatoes; 3 to 5 minutes for the small ones, and 10 minutes for the bigger ones. Put them in an airtight plastic bag then freeze.
Dicing, blanching, and freezing make it easier to thaw potatoes when you’re ready to eat them. Peel the potatoes first, dice them into cubes, blanch them in salted water for 3 minutes, then freeze.
Grating & Freezing
This is ideal for making hash browns. Wash, peel, grate, then cool potatoes in ice-cold water. While they cool, bring water in a pot to a boil. Transfer the grated potatoes into the hot water then blanch them for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and shape into patties. Freeze. Put in a sealable bag, then refreeze.
Cutting Potatoes Into Fries Then Freezing
This will add extra crunch to fries. Peel, slice the potatoes into your preferred thickness, then blanch them for 2 minutes. Plunge transfer into a bowl of ice-cold water then drain. Coat with vegetable oil, place in a baking tray, then freeze for 6 hours. Put into an airtight bag and refreeze.
Will Cooked Potatoes Turn Back In The Fridge?
Cooked potatoes that get exposed to air would turn black due to oxidation even if they’re in the fridge, so make sure that they are tightly sealed. Another thing you can do to preserve their color is to plunge them into the water with vinegar or lemon, especially as acid prevents oxidation.
How Long Will Cooked Potatoes Last In The Freezer?
Properly cooked and stored potatoes can last for up to 3 months in the fridge. Basically, you’re just preparing them ahead and freezing them until you’re ready to use them.
Storing potatoes in a cardboard box is advisable as it provides adequate airflow, allowing them to breathe. You may also use mesh bags, paper bags, and a wooden crate for storing potatoes long-term.
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